Gorton Monastery is a short 15-minute bus ride from Piccadilly Newton Street.
The monastery is a former church and Franciscan friary, which has been described as architect Edward Welby Pugin’s masterpiece. It is also known as Manchester’s Taj Mahal.
Derelict for many years, it was saved from ruin by the charity and building preservation trust that still maintains and operates the site to this day. Stockport-born broadcaster and writer Joan Bakewell and former Beirut hostage Terry Waite backed the campaign to save the church and are patrons of the Gorton Lane Monastery.
In 1997 the monastery was placed on the World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 most endangered sites in the world, alongside the Taj Mahal, Pompeii and the Valley of the Kings.
Today, The Monastery operates as a heritage visitor attraction as well as a venue for hire.
Once we arrived we settled in the café and enjoyed soups, paninis, jacket potatoes and toasties all prepared by the wonderful Carl. We then looked round the enclosed garden, church, cloisters, sanctuary café and refectory. More photos can be seen here.
Canonisation of David Hoyle
On 22 September 1991, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence canonised Derek Jarman as Saint Derek of The Order of Celluloid Knights of Dungeness. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an international order of queer nuns with groups all over the world, including here in Manchester.
They perform radical queer and left-wing activism, essentially HIV and community fundraising work that, in their own words, “expiate stigmatic guilt and promulgate universal joy”.
On Saturday 9 April 2022, as a finale to the Derek Jarman PROTEST! exhibition, Jez Dolan (the artist in residence) together with The Manchester Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence held the canonisation of internationally acclaimed performance-art icon, David Hoyle, hereafter to be referred to as Saint David of the Avant-Garde.
As is traditional and time-honoured in these matters, the ceremony began with the procession of the Saint-to-be through the streets to the place of canonisation. The procession, accompanied by the Eclipse New Orleans Parade Band, began from New York New York in Manchester’s gay village.
The night before we had attended Dame Gracy’s Memorial at Tribeca. We learnt that Gracy, back in the day, had led a march from the Rembrandt pub along Sackville Street. However before the dozen or so people reached Portland Street they were all arrested by the police.
Today’s parade took the same route out of the Gay Village and continued through China Town to the renowned splendour of the Manchester Art Gallery accompanied by flags and banners, smoke and mirrors.
Once we were in the Art Gallery, Jez Dolan announced: “In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the Fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas. And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.” This made the whole event truly fantabulosa!
More photos can be seen here.
Pride in Nature
The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Garden Bridgewater organised a Pride in Nature event and members of Out In The City attended. We walked through the gardens, enjoyed refreshments and listened to the talks from Queer Out Here (an LGBT+ walking group), Hidayah LGBT (a group which supports LGBT Muslims) and Let’s Get Botanical Together (a collaboration between Pride in Ageing at LGBT Foundation and Manchester Art Gallery to create a pocket park inspired by Derek Jarman’s garden at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness).